We’ve all seen those DIY tutorials online that involve mountains of hot glue and floral foam. Those can be fun, but you’re probably going to wind up with a few burns, and the results they produce hardly look professional. DIY teeth whitening is often the same way. There are several methods online that claim to work, but these are usually unnecessarily dangerous and don’t whiten your teeth to the extent that an experienced dentist can. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common DIY whitening solutions and why you should probably avoid them.
Charcoal is absorbent, so much so that some people claim brushing with it will soak up bacteria and stains. While it’s possible charcoal could have some whitening effects, it’s also a very hard abrasive, meaning it could potentially damage your enamel. For this reason, charcoal toothpaste doesn’t carry the ADA seal of approval.
Some professional-grade teeth whitening solutions are acidic, which might be what leads some people to believe that lemon juice can brighten your smile. However, the citric acid in lemons is more likely to corrode your enamel, causing tooth sensitivity. And, of course, to make your breath smell like lemons.
The act of swishing a small amount of oil around your mouth for 20 or so minutes is said to provide some incredible health benefits, including whitening your teeth. This theory has no scientific evidence supporting it. The most oil pulling has been proven to do is cause jaw pain and potentially make your teeth more sensitive.
This chemical is a well-established whitening method, often used in dental offices. That leads people to think they can apply it at home to avoid having to pay for professional treatment. The problem is that hydrogen peroxide can, if applied incorrectly, irritate the gums and damage the teeth. Dentists know how to use it safely; most people do not.
Over-the-counter Whitening Solutions
It’s easy to think that if you get something from a pharmacy it probably can’t hurt you, but just because it’s store-bought doesn’t mean it’s safe. Most OTC whitening solutions you buy aren’t ADA-approved and consist of powerful chemicals that can do serious damage. In the worst-case scenario, bleach can enter the nerve chamber of a tooth, causing extraordinary discomfort.
Ultimately, the way to get your best smile is by visiting your dentist for professional whitening. The procedure is fast, easy, and completely safe. Just a single appointment can make your smile up to eight shades brighter without putting your oral health at risk. If you want the convenience of doing it at home, your dentist can always give you a take-home whitening kit that’s much safer than their over-the-counter alternative. You deserve the best, and that can only come from an expert.
About the Author
Dr. Robert A. Sue is a cosmetic dentist with over 40 years of experience. Over that time, he has become an expert in every aspect of cosmetic dentistry. He uses that expertise to give people their perfect smile. Dr. Sue takes the time to get to know every patient, tailoring your treatment to your precise needs. If you have any questions about teeth whitening, he can be reached via his website or by phone at (818) 243-3838.